After multiple coaches questioned whether his height would limit him, Dreher found someone who was willing to give him a shot.
“Amonte looked me in the eyes and said: ‘Coach, I know I’m short, but I’m a quarterback. I just need a chance,’ ” Dunbar Coach Maurice Vaughn said.
Vaughn has firsthand knowledge that height doesn’t always dictate success. In 1983, Vaughn led Dunbar to a Turkey Bowl appearance despite being 5-7.
“As a shorter quarterback myself, I told him, ‘If you show me you that can throw, I don’t care how tall you are,’ ” Vaughn said. “ ‘You’ll be allowed to play quarterback here.’ ”
Dreher, now 5-7 as a junior, has not only proved that he can throw, he has proved he can win.
With 1,352 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes, Dreher has helped Dunbar (5-1 overall, 2-0 in conference play) become a serious championship contender in the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association.
“[Being undersized] has definitely put a chip on my shoulder,” Dreher said. “I know you’re supposed to play to prove the believer right and not the haters wrong, but I can’t not remember all the people that questioned me playing quarterback because of my height. So every time I step on the field, I just try to remind them of the mistake that they made.”
⇒ Player of the week for D.C./Prince George’s: Zyon Pierce, QB, Bell. The freshman finished 10 for 12 for 185 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-0 win over Cardozo.
⇒ Game of the week for D.C./Prince George’s: No. 8 Wise at Suitland, Friday, 7 p.m.
Landon set for IAC showdown against Georgetown Prep
Landon went 9-1 in 2017, but its one loss forced a tie with Georgetown Prep atop the Interstate Athletic Conference standings. The Bears went 9-1 again in 2018, but their one loss was to Prep, which finished the conference schedule unbeaten.
Paul Padalino’s team is a conference contender again, and the road to the title again goes through Georgetown Prep, which will visit the Bears for a showdown Saturday.
Landon has deployed a bevy of weapons on its way to a 4-1 start. Four players scored rushing touchdowns in a 35-16 win against Maret, and then Landon outlasted St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, 41-35, in double-overtime Friday.
Zayd Delane and Tyler Smith make the offense go, and because Landon dresses only 30 or so players, many of its top athletes play offense and defense. The Bears’ quarterback, Kino Lilly, is adept at getting them the ball.
“He’s a talented basketball player, a guard, and he plays football like a guard,” Padalino said. “He’s trying to distribute the ball and get it into people’s hands.”
⇒ Player of the week for private schools: On just nine carries, Caleb Robinson scored four touchdowns for Bullis in a 42-7 win against St. Albans, the Bulldogs’ third straight.
⇒ Game to watch for private schools: No. 1 DeMatha at No. 4 Gonzaga, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Dangerous on both sides of the ball, South County is 6-0
Coming into this season, South County coaches were optimistic the Stallions could make plays.
“My staff and I thought we had a really dynamic team, but you really don’t know for sure until you start,” Coach Gerry Pannoni said.
We’ve reached the point in the year where early-season trends are starting to become season-long narratives. So, it’s fairly safe to say Pannoni and his staff were right. South County has been making big plays since August, and its 6-0 record is proof.
The No. 17 Stallions have been effective on both sides of the ball, allowing 8.8 points and scoring 40.6. Pannoni described the defense as “fast at every position” and said the key to the offense is quarterback Matthew Dzierski, a third-year starter.
“He’s really grown into a good quarterback,” Pannoni said.
This isn’t the first time this staff has gotten off to a strong start. The program began the 2014 season 8-0 and carried an undefeated record deep into the playoffs the following fall.
“We talk a lot about getting better every day. If we can get better every day, we’ll be where we want to be, no matter the scoreboard or the standings,” Pannoni said. “That maybe sounds corny, but it’s true, and it’s helped us stay focused.”
⇒ Player of the week in Virginia: Tony Muskett, QB, West Springfield. The senior had a 95-yard touchdown run in the Spartans’ 40-13 win over Fairfax.
⇒ Game to watch in Virginia: No. 17 South County at West Springfield, Friday, 7 p.m.
⇒ Quotable: “They always play us hard. We knew if we could beat a team like this then we were moving in the right direction.” — Westfield quarterback Noah Kim on the No. 6 Bulldogs’ 21-14 win over Madison
La Plata rallies for SMAC win
Trailing Westlake by 12 points Friday night, La Plata received the ball with one more chance to score in the first half. The Warriors weren’t executing up to that point, but then quarterback Donovan Bowman found wide receiver Tim Smith for a touchdown with about 50 seconds remaining.
“It boosted [our confidence] a lot,” Bowman said. “Everyone got more hype.”
La Plata (4-2) took control from there. The Warriors shut out Westlake the rest of the game and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in their 21-12 home win.
Last season, La Plata finished 2-8 and lost to Westlake by 29 points. Many of La Plata’s seniors grew up winning together on their youth team, the La Plata Blue Knights, and they’re trying to prove themselves as a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference contender.
“La Plata has been always predicted to lose games,” said Bowman, who finished Friday’s game with two touchdown passes. “We’ve always been the underdog. We know we can be something great this year.”
⇒ Player of the week from Maryland: Ethan Brown, QB, Atholton. The senior threw for five touchdowns and ran in another score during the Raiders’ 56-14 win over Mount Hebron on Saturday.
⇒ Game to watch in Maryland: Glenelg at River Hill, Friday, 7 p.m.
⇒ Quotable: “I guarantee he’s the best coach in the county.” - Rockville lineman Yianni Panagiotopoulos on the Rams’ coach, Jason Lomax, after the team improved to 6-0 Friday.